Something real bad has happened to wrestling. It's not a WWF thing. It's not a WCW thing. There is something wrong with the industry. They've taken my favorite form of sports entertainment away from kids. It's happened on several levels.
Let's start with the first level - Pay-Per-Views. I have always been a big opponent of pay-per-views. This point of view has always been from a selfish perspective. I am not going to justify spending $30 to watch pro wrestling. Every time I think about that concept my skin crawls. Let's look at it from the perspective of a kid whose parents "let" him/her watch wrestling but aren't crazy about the idea. These parents certainly would never shell out $30 for their kids to watch this crap. My parents never would (smart folks). So, the ppv's are one aspect of taking wrestling away from kids.
The second level of taking wrestling away from kids is this Monday Night thing. Wrestling used to be a Saturday afternoon thing. That is when everything happened. For me, it was WWF's Superstars and later Challenge. Everything important in wrestling could be seen then. Now, it's a Monday Night thing. Important things happen between 9:00pm and 11:00pm. Well, Monday is a school night. A lot of kids aren't up at that hour. The other problem with Monday nights is that the content of these shows is adult oriented. I'm a WWF fan. However, children should not watch RAW any more than they should listen to Howard Stern. It's just not appropriate viewing. Considering they're showing grown men's rear ends, I don't even think there's a question that kids shouldn't be watching RAW. While the WCW is far from appropriate and contains some pretty lewd behavior, it's debatable on whether kids should be watching that program either.
Pro Wrestling as an industry has no problem exploiting kids. They love selling kids all of their over-priced merchandise like $25 T-shirts and $2 per minute 900 number calls. I guess this proves that pro wrestling hasn't totally forgotten about it's "next generation" of SUCKERS. After all, they are the future buyers of $50 pay per views.
I watch wrestling because I always liked a good match and I find some of the stuff they do incredibly funny. That doesn't mean I have to look at the industry with blinders on.. Every time Phil Mushnick writes something negative about pro wrestling, wrestling fans look upon it as some form of blasphemy. You don't have to justify anything to yourself for watching wrestling. There's nothing wrong with watching the stuff. However, it's quite another thing to say that pro wrestling is moving away from entertaining kids while increasingly exploiting them.
Len B is a regular visitor to the Readers' Forum (under the alias Blasse Fan) and a long time friend of Solie's.
From Philly PA
Clips of Stings one man gang action against the nWo open the program. Then we get clips of Hogan's "hugely successful" movie - they claim it was one of the "top 4" cable movies ever (right...) I don't care what they claim I saw some of that movie and it was the pits! This is followed by clips of the contract signing in Las Vegas the same night.
Dean Malenko/Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Misterio Jr./Steve Regal - what a strange pairing! Apparently they are using this weird tag match as a hype for the WWIII Battle Royal coming up. The match is puncuated by Guerrero's refusal to tag in until Malenko tags him while his back is turned. Regal is definitely looking flabby these days. He gets in but quickly tags back out. Rey almost pins Guerrero but Malenko makes the save. Eddie takes the advantage over Misterio and is readying a Frog Splash when Malenko tags himself in again(!) as Guerrero is climbing the and slaps on his Texas Cloverleaf to take the win. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls frolic again...
Dave Taylor vs. Fit Finley - I would expect the Belfast Bruiser to take this one - Taylor is a very good wrestler but Finley is an animal! Taylor surprises me (and Finley) by launching an aggressive assault right out of the chute and manages to dominate the short contest right up to the time when Finley put him into a Pile Driver. Cut to commercial.
Eric Bischoff breaks into Tony's commentary to harrass the announcers about calling Hogan a coward. He denies that the Champ is running from Sting. Bischoff pats himself on the back for the success of Hogan's movie (he was the Executive Producer) and promises a series soon... He rants about McMahon trying (and failing says he) to steal Hogan's thunder by scheduling the Survivor Series Flashback program up against Hogan's movie.
Yugi Nagata (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Psychosis - of course these guys don't like each other because of Sonny Oono's perfidy. Psychosis seems to hold the upper hand with his aerial attack until Nagata side-steps a flying body block off the top. Now Nagata is in charge and deals out some devastating body blows. He dispatches Psychosis with his Figure Four submission hold.
Disco Fever vs. Perry Saturn (w/Raven and the nest) - this guy has zero credibility since Halloween Havoc. Still Disco has the presense of mind to to mount an immediate all out assault. No cigar Disco boy! Saturn bulls right past Disco's defenses and overwhelms his hapless opponent with a solid power game. His only drawback seems to be his obsession with checking every move with his mentor at ringside. Disco is very resilliant and hangs on as Saturn unhurridly takes him apart. Disco has to yank on the big guy's ear rings to gain a foothold! Even then he loses the initiative right away. Disco comes back one more time a little later but it is futile. Saturn uses the "Rings of Saturn" (reverse arm bar submission hold) to take the win and the Television Championship. Cut to...
Ric Flair w/Mean Gene - Flair still talks the best game around...he rants about catching Hennig tonight and dealing out some punishment for his crimes. He also predicts that he will win the 60 Man Battle Royal then will take the Title from Hogan...hmmm. Cut to commercial...
More Nitro Grrrls...
Scott Hall comes to the ring on his own and gets the crowd to repeat his nWo chant - he says he has more business to conduct before he beats up Chris Jericho. He starts putting Larry Z down then shows the footage of Bischoff kicking Zbysco and then posing with the Legandary one under his heel. Larry doth protest (of course)
Scott Hall vs. Chris Jericho - Hall underestimates the youngster to his peril for the first exchange. Then he grabs an arm bar and takes his opponent down. Jericho does his spunky thing and comes back repeatedly but as the match continues he loses more and more ground. Finally Hall dedicates a move to Zbysco but distracts himself in the process - Jericho comes back again and gets a surprises Hall with a roll-up and a pin!. Hall decides to finish the job and that is when Larry decides to make his move. He stride down to the ring with a contract in hand and dares Hall to sign it. Hall just backs away and leaves, ignoring Larry's appeals to his honor and pride. Cut to...
The next installment of Mike Tenay's Lucha Libre series. He shows us several of the more popular flying moves and gives us their Spanish language equivalents.
Lucha Libre Battle Royal - 8 of Mexican wrestlers in the WCW gather to brawl it out. The Villanos, Juventud Guerrera, Cycople, Silver King, Lizmark Jr. Damien and a guy whose name I missed are having a rather desultory match when the Giant decides to wade in and take them all on. It lasts about a minute and a half. Afterward, the Giant takes the mic and rants about how he is going to win the WWWIII battle royal. He especially calls out Kevin Nash and promises to throw him into the crowd... Cut to commercial
Alex Wright (w/Debra) vs. Ric Flair - this could be good. Wright is a talented youngster and Flair is likely to underestimate him. The announcers are talking up the idea of a Flair victory at WWIII - but temper it by mentioning that Flair also has to face Curt Hennig that night. In the match, Flair does a pretty good job of frustrating his opponent in the opening minutes. He deftly out maneuvers the faster, stronger youngster - making ample use of his knife-edged chops. Wright fights gamely but can't seem to apply enough force to derail Flair's assault. He finally gets underneath and backdrops the former Champ to take the initiative. For several moments he succeeds in putting together combinations but then Flair slips in a punch and retakes control. He takes the youngster out to the floor and roughs him up. Then he turns his back to re-enter the ring. Wright waylays him and gains the advantage once again. Back in the ring his forward progress is suddenly halted. Flair does a number on his leg then slaps on the Figure Four to take the win. Debra comforts her charge as Flair leaves the field. Cut to commercial.
Steve McMichael vs. Ray Traylor - Traylor holds all the cards in this one except (possibly) raw power. These two bulls try to overpower each other as the match see-saws. Mongo slips in a three-point stance and knocks Traylor out of the ring. The announcers ignore the match to spin more scenerios about WWIII. In the ring, Traylor's experience edge is asserting itself. He is working on Mongo's left leg. He goes for a whip and they double clothesline each other. As they get up again Bill Goldberg comes down wearing Mongo's SuperBowl ring. Mongo is distracted and falls victim to Traylor's signature Sidewalk Slam. Cut to commercial.
Diamond Dallas Page and Kimberley w/ Mean Gene - he says he is loving every minute of his battles with the nWo especially his match with Hogan last week. He is proud of being able to compete despite his rib injuries. Gene queries him about his WWIII plans. DDP says "nobody wants it as bad as me..." Then he warns Hogan to watch his back..
Nitro Grrrls again?
Public Enemy vs. The Steiner Brothers (w/Ted Dibiasi) - Philly Steet fight Tag Team Title match - PE bring their "plunder" to the ring - they set up the stacked tables before their opponents make their entrance. The Steiners start the fight without removing their leather jackets. The match takes place simultaneously in the ring and on the floor. It is a Pier Six brawl plain and simple.. Scott and Rocco battle right up to the broadcast booth. Rocco climbs the side of the set and then drops an elbow on his downed opponent. Now Rick and Johnny Grunge are fighting ourside at ringside. We watch the entire match in split screen. Scotty and Rocco are battling up and down the aisle. Rocco finally upsets Scott and returns to the ring to team up against Rick. Ted Dibiasi saves his man from disaster by jerking him out from between the two tables just as Grunge lunges. Grunge is out of it when Scotty appears on camera to take the pin. Cut to commercial.
Clips from last years WWIII match.
Michael Buffer introduces the main event.
Curt Hennig vs. Lex Luger - US Title match - people think of Hennig as one of the older guys but actually these two are both over 37 and have about the same experience. Luger was making his debut in the NWA when Hennig was barely active in the AWA. Both are in great shape with Luger holding the strength edge - Hennig has more cunning and more solid wrestling credentials. They battle for control with Luger dominating things up to the first commercial. We are 15 minutes past the hour.
Hennig is out jawing at a fan ringside as we return. It may be one of the professional football players we saw earlier. Luger drags him back into the ring and gets blindsided. Hennig mounts a deadly assault and has Luger reeling in moments. He culminates the first attack in his snap over of Luger's head. He gets a two count before Luger kicks out. Hennig continues to cream his opponent in and out of the ring. Luger is waiting for a mistake but Hennig doesn't make many. When he does Luger is all over him. He deals out some heavy duty power moves. The flurry ends in the Bionic forearm. Luger goes for the Rack but Hennig grabs the ropes. Hennig tumbles out to the floor where Flair suddenly appears to attack him. He chases Hennig right into Luger's waiting arms - Luger Racks him once more, but Flair comes in and attacks Hennig again causing the DQ. Flair and Luger are arguing on the platform as we fade to black.
Tonight's live program is from Hershey, PA
Steve Austin comes down to start the program in his street clothes. Vince McMahon bravely interviews him...Austin says that Owen Hart is in for some payback time on Sunday. Vinnie reminds Steve that everyone is against him - including Ahmed Johnson (who is shown getting stunned from several different angles). Austin says he has nothing against Johnson but warns him not to get in his (Austin's) way. That brings Ahmed down to get in Austin's face. Officials swarm the ring to keep them apart. There is no real scuffle because neither man is here to fight right now. Johnson wants a match tonight - Austin says "yes". The whole entourage retreats back up the aisle as Vince and Co. hype tonight's card. Cut to commercials for Milton Bradley toys and a Karate Fighters' match. Who was that saying that Vince didn't market his stuff to children on Monday night??
Sunny boogies on down to announce the next match. A Light Heavyweight Title contest.
Super Loco vs. Agula - the latter has an Juventud Guerrera look to him. Brian Christopher takes a seat in the broadcast booth. He sounds just like his Dad - right down to the high pitched laugh. The luchadores are hard at it in the ring but the crowd isn't paying any more attention then the announcers. Jim Ross mentions in an aside that Gorilla Monsoon is getting better, still hospitalized but feeling better. The wrestlers are taking some pretty big risks to try and get the crowd into the match but their still falling flat. Both wrestlers a reeling around when Agula pulls off a flying body press to get the pin.
Cut to an interview with the Runnels - Dustin looks sullen as Terry expresses her happiness at being home again after her unspoken ordeal. She is talking about their daughter when Dustin breaks in and says "This is making me sick". He goes into a slowly boiling rant that gets more strident as he talks. He says first he lived for his Dad - then he lived for her - he complains about her being gone for a month (Dustin?!). He says that he has found somebody else. She breaks down and asks him why he is doing this here and now - he ignores the question and tells her he's leaving her in a most degrading fashion. Here we go again...
We get a review of the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels feud. Bret Hart interview clips are shown then some of Michaels'. This Survivor Series promo seems to go on for about eight minutes. Bret sounds altogether like a reasonable bigot - suggesting that Shawn is gay and putting down Michaels wrestling style for being too "Mexican". Interestingly, it's the latter makes him "sick..." Shawn talks about being cocky and a "smartass" but comes across as very serious and businesslike. Ahmed Johnson comes down to the ring as we cut to commercial.
Ahmed is still in the ring as we return - at this point Kane shows up. I get it - Kane is the Bill Goldberg of the WWF! Ahmed attacks the masked man and ends up getting choke slammed! Kane then delivers a very badly executed Tombstone piledriver. He does it again...just as badly. Mankind comes down to tell Kane how bad a wrestler he is... he puts the Mandible claw on Paul Bearer then hits Kane with a bent piece of turnbuckle hardware. Kane goes down and out. Maybe this guy is Isaac Yankum... Cut to commercial.
We see a video review of what just happened. It looks like Kane got up pretty fast after taking that bump.
Steve Austin's music plays and he comes to the ring. He gets off the best line of the night when he observes that "I told you Ahmed Johnson was going to get his a$$ kicked... He's still ready to take on Johnson but allows how he'll take on anyone in the dressing room. He taunts the other wrestlers as nobody shows up. Then the NOD music plays. They appear on the platform and Rocky is ready to go, but Faarooq selects Kama for the honors. The Road Warriors show up and attack the rest of the Nation as Steve Austin stuns the distracted Kama. The battle rages at ringside as Austin strolls back up the aisle. Cut to commercials for toys and video games.
We review Dustin Runnels despicable act and then watch Kane downed for a third time and Kama stunned once again. Time for the second hour.
Jerry Lawler has joined the broadcast team. Shawn Michaels is introduced but we get Rick Rude instead. He parodies his classic entrance speech salting it with words that have to be bleeped and introduces DegenerationX. Shawn and Company come to the ring. Vince and JR jokingly ask "What does that gesture mean??" The Cole kid interviews Michaels. He asks Shawn about his interference in the Hart/Shamrock match last week and shows video to illustrate his question. Hunter takes the mic and rants then pushes Cole over Chynna schoolboy style. Cole leaves the ring and Shawn starts to rant about Hulk Hogan but Hunter interrupts him and riffs on Hogan's age - comparing him to God, placing him in the Roman circus, etc... Shawn takes the mic back and says he plans to come out and walk naked on the show. Then he demands a match against Ken Shamrock next week. Sgt. Slaughter comes down to answer the question - the DXr's stop him to put on safety masks then stop him again to add windshield wipers. Slaughter finishes his thought and says that Michaels will get a match with Shamrock, but it will be tonight!! Jim Ross promises us that Jeff Jarrett will "ruffle some feathers..." in part two of his interview tonight. All weekend I saw replays of his first interview. The most interesting passage is the one that shows him carrying the US Title belt while he complains in the voice over of having been given "no opportunities..."
Marc Mero (w/Sable) vs. Savio Vega - Mero was shown earlier having words with his wife - another marital story brewing. In the match Mero is doing his usual boxing/wrestling thing of late. I hope they find him a better gimmick soon. Mero wins the match after a low-blow. Mike Cole tries to interview Sable, who is about to express some misgivings about her husbands tactics - but Mero interrupts and drags her away. Cut to commercial.
Vader vs. The British Bulldog (w/Jim Neidhart, Furnas and LaFon) - Dog Collar Match - Bulldog brings the dog collar. The first chance they get the Bulldog's buddies start to beat on Vader - this is a no DQ match so there ius nothing to be done about it. Shortly after the beating, Bulldog gets to three of the corners before he is halted. The battle goes on while Doug Furnas declares his antipathy for the United States. In the ring Vader has gotten to three corners and manages to get to the fourth despite interference from the thugs. They fall on Vader after the announcement and then the WWF's version of the "rogue fan" comes in to help him. The Harts pummell the "fan" after he gets in a few well placed Karate kicks. We see Ken Shamrock working out with a punching bag as we cut to commercial.
Two more Borecuas vs. BaddAss Billy/Road Dog - Ross tells us that LOD have had an altercation with Slaughter back stage and have been asked to leave the building. The match goes much like all of Billy and Jesse's contests - they show an unusual adeptness at cheating to get the win. Jesus and Jose are pretty much overwhelmed throughout. The Borecuas make a sudden comeback after about 4 minutes and have things in hand but then one of them inexplicably decides to distract the referee while his partner is going for the pin. Billy comes off the top to make the save and then rolls Road Dog on top to get the pin. Ross tells us that the Jarrett interview may have to wait until the weekend because of time constraints. Cut to commercial.
Shawn Michaels(w/DX) vs. Ken Shamrock - we get a video review of the clash between these two last week. Shamrock attacks Michaels before the bell. He looks pretty pissed. He gorilla presses HBK and tosses him out to his cohorts. Shawn takes his time coming back in and gets noggin nocked into Hunter for his trouble. There is a "Bischoff = Homo" sign at ringside. In the ring Michaels is getting his clocked cleaned. He takes it out to the floor and Shamrock gets caught between the DXr's. Rude is approaching the ring as we cut to commercial.
Shamrock is still getting ragged on the outside as we return. Hunter tosses him back into the ring for Shawn who maintains his control of the action. He slaps on a reverse chinlock. Moments later Shamrock is fighting to get to his feet. The match see-saws a couple of times then Michaels rushes shoulder first into a ringpost. Shamrock tries a Hurracanranna but Shawn turns it into a powerbomb. Shawn goes for his super kick but Shamrock grabs the leg and applies a submission hold to the ankle. The ref is being distracted as Rick Rude goes in and applies his briefcase to the back of Shamrock's head. The DQ is called and we fade to black.
I'll Be back on Thursday with the mid-week edition. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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